Note: This was given initially as a talk for a Church Football Outreach I was part of. This is what I wrote down before, so the talk itself was not given exactly as found here but is very close to it.
Becoming a Christian is the single most terrible and best thing that’s ever happened to me. The next worst possibly smashing my head on a ground with a stuck piece of broken glass while playing football and the next best being surviving it. Now, I say becoming a Christian but technically there wasn’t really a time that wasn’t a Christian because I grew with it, surrounded by it, especially growing up in Nigeria, it is simply what you do, going to Church on Sundays was compulsory. But it is possible to know something and not know at the same time, simply following with your heart not really being there but being on a sort of autopilot.
Then I went away to Uni and there was when push really came to shove, when nobody was watching it became difficult to carry on the façade, it was clearly uncool to be Christian and I found that the Christianity I had was just one where head and heart did not meet. I did what everybody at Uni did, matter of fact it was the mistake I made, I thought that just because everybody else was living differently to what this other kind of idea life that I knew to be true was, then this meant this other popular life must be the way to do it.
Then Crisis came, the financial crisis of 2008, I had just graduated or about to graduate and because I spent most of my final year at Uni – the most important of the years- clubbing and ended up failing one of my most important modules – Aerospace Technology, if your degree is in Aerospace Engineering you can’t afford to fail that. I failed because I kept missing the lectures. Took a resit exam and course work, failed again. So because of that my degree classification was downgraded from 2:1 to 2:2. I begged my lecturer, had meetings with him and there was no way he was going to change it. It was already hard for anyone to get a job at the time, to get a job with a 2:2 was near enough impossible so I moved to London (Had flat in Docklands near UEL, London City Airport) to start a masters. I was going to get a part time job, but had a bit of money to last a while.
Life at the flat was great, I had moved back home for a while and clashing with parents so it was great to be out of there again. Finding a job was proving very difficult, went for loads of interview but wasn’t really getting anywhere, then there was job for a call centre doing marketing surveys that I pretty much had, I think I had a phone interview or went there for an Interview and was asked to come for a training day. On the day I was supposed to come someone committed suicide on the underground, so didn’t make it there on time, I was asked back and told this was the last training day if I didn’t show up that was it.
The day before I was going to go, I was locked out of the flat because I forgot to take my keys so I called my housemate who was at his mates house at mile end and because I knew this other guy I went to that house. There I got convinced into going clubbing in central London, missed the last bus home and had to catch a night bus so got back around 4 a.m, training was at 9, so had to leave the house at 8. When we got home we both sleep on the sofas in the living room but my phone was dead so I asked my housemate to set his for I guess 7:30. I thought he did but he clearly didn’t because I woke up at 9:30 and I knew I was screwed. I was desperate, this was my last chance, I won’t be able to continue living, pay rent, I was fast running out of money, fell out with parents and because of other things that were happening as well (a girl was involved, there’s always a girl involved), there was just so much other things going on that I honestly felt that was being hounded by God. My way of living the way I wanted was simply not working anymore, I was exhausted and this felt like the final straw. So I gave up.
Went into my room and for the first time in a long time I cried. Then I picked up the Bible I had but never really read and randomly opened to a page, If you know your bible, you’ll know that if you open it to the middle you’ll find yourself reading the psalms. Random bible opening usually doesn’t work, you’ll end up reading about circumcision or suicide or temple prostitutes or how to sacrifice a goat, I won’t advice it, but like I said I was being hounded so when I opened it I got Psalm 39. It seemed to have been written for and about me and the words were what I would have said to God if I could have found words to say to him
I was cornered, floored and caught up with, so I gave up and gave in. I call it my red pill, blue pill moment. I unplugged from the Matrix and for the first time I felt like I was finally seeing.